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The very popular Jay Mack – KIMN Boss Jock – made his debut at KIMN on July 17th, 1963 – He skyrocketed to the top of the Denver area DJ’s in popularity. Then one day in August of 1964 – Jay was headed for a mini-vacation in the mountains of Colorado and everything changed. Fellow Jock Jack Merker, who was about to switch stations, received a call at home from law enforcement officers calling from Lutheran Hospital in Wheat Ridge – they had located a printed item at the scene of a horrendous automobile crash near Golden – just west of Denver – The item contained Jack’s name.
Jay Mack’s career would never return to the pinnacle he had reached in the summer of 1964. Just one week later he was scheduled to introduce The Beatles on their first U.S. Tour – appearing at Red Rocks Amphitheater.
Mack was severely injured – and remained on the critical list and in a coma for three weeks. His traveling companion and KIMN receptionist, Judy Danknich. was not expected to survive the accident. Mack attempted a comeback at KIMN but with his speech pattern damaged it was a real struggle. He was transferred in 1965 to a sister station in the Northwest – working off microphone for Merker. While there, Mack worked hard practicing his on-air jargon – off-air – working to get the magic back.
He eventually returned to Denver – working first for KIMN competitor KBTR – and then returning to an afternoon slot at KIMN – due primarily to the demands of KIMN listeners. He didn’t stay long – departing to work in Miama – again for his friend Merker. He then returned for a third shot at KIMN in 1969.
Then in April of 1971 – KIMN was sold – and the firings began. Jay received his walking papers just hours ahead of his scheduled show – dismissed over the telephone. Life then began a painful chain of disappointments in radio – first in Kansas City – then landing at a very tiny little station in Michigan where he was the only employee – working live on the air and doubling up as a custodian after his stint.
The station owner who hired Jay – had never heard of him. He came back to Colorado eventually in 1984 where he played ‘oldies’ on KLSC in Aurora. All in all – Jay’s life was a letdown from what could have been.
Judy Danknich did survive but suffered greatly and struggle the rest of her life as a result of the injuries – She was 18 years-old at the time of the accident.
Jay Mack – the quickest Boss Jock wit on Fabulous KIMN – passed away in March of 2002 at age 65.